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Japan's upper house election kicks off

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-21 07:58

TOKYO - Voting for election of Japan's House of Councillors, or the upper house, kicked off at 7 am local time on Sunday as the country's ruling bloc would set a victory in the polling, putting an end to the "divided Diet."

The voting started across the country at about 48,000 polling stations, which will close at 8 pm local time the day and media exit poll will immediately forecast the outcome, while the formal result would come out early Monday.

Half seats in the 242-seat chamber are up for contests and a total of 433 individuals have filed for candidacy with the 121 seats at stake.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to end the "twisted Diet" through the election as his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its key ally, the New Komeito Party, hold an overwhelming majority in the more powerful lower house, but remain a minority in the upper house.

The ruling bloc has to secure 63 seats to win a majority in the chamber, as they already hold 59 seats that will not be contested this time.

Recent media poll showed that the ruling camp could secure about 70 seats in Sunday's election, meaning that the camp will obtain a majority in the upper house so as to better implement their policies.

The opposition, which remains the majority in the upper house, will try to block the LDP to control Japan's politics solely.

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